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This book describes the history and characteristics of ethnic and multicultural children's literature in the U.S., as well as related materials published elsewhere. It relates in great detail the people, businesses, organizations, and institutions that create, disseminate, promote, critique, and collect these materials. Author Donna Gilton gives a detailed history of U.S. multicultural and ethnic children's literature throughout several historic periods, relating these developments to general social and political U.S. history. Chapters illustrate characteristics of U.S. multicultural children's books, the major issues in the field, and multicultural initiatives and mainstream responses, while also providing outlines of research possibilities in the field and suggesting other groups of people who should be emphasized more in the future. In doing all this, Multicultural and Ethnic Children's Literature in the United States brings together valuable and scattered information for the busy and involved librarians, teachers, parents, publishers, distributors, and community leaders who wish to use and promote this material with children.
Gilton writes with authority, clarity, and conviction, presenting a strong rationale for the necessity for teachers to use multicultural literature whether or not their schools and/or classrooms have diverse populations. This is not a bibliography of multicultural books for children. Instead, the author offers a wealth of information, starting with discussions of how people pass on their cultures and the importance of recognizing worldview and ethnic and racial identities. She gives a history of multicultural literature in the U.S., noting that there has been an increase in the availability of titles for children in the last 20 years, but that there is much room for more improvement in this area. In addition to the historical review, Gilton addresses current issues including cultural authenticity of authors and melting pot versus culturally conscious literature. There is ample information on how to find the best books that appropriately represent a variety of cultures. Finally, Gilton looks closely at groups that are growing in the U.S., including bicultural families and Arab and Muslim Americans. Throughout the book, the author references bibliographies and important critiques of childrena€™s literature available in books, journals, and online sources. By emphasizing where books of certain types can be found, she expands the knowledge base of teachers and librarians one hundred fold. With the help of this extensive reference, the task of putting quality books into the hands of teachers and children is greatly simplified.-Wendy Smith-Da€™Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD
Part 1 Acknowledgments Part 2 1 Multicultural Children's Literature: An Introduction Part 3 2 A History of U.S. Multicultural Children's Literature Part 4 3 General Trends in the Field Part 5 4 Specific Ethnic Initiatives and Conclusions Part 6 5 Where to Go from Here: Emerging Groups and Issues Part 7 Bibliography Part 8 Index Part 9 About the Author